Carrefour SA

PARIS — Carrefour posted a 3 percent decline in first quarter sales, with weaker Latin American currencies weighing on a mixed performance from the retail giant as it continues to restructure its operations to compete in a digital era.

In a separate release, the company said that Alexandre Arnault would replace his father, Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, on the retailer’s board until next year’s annual shareholder meeting, as the luxury tycoon hands further responsibilities to his children.

“His technology and e-commerce skills will make a positive contribution to Carrefour’s strategy,” said Carrefour ceo Alexandre Bompard, welcoming the arrival of Alexandre Arnault, who is also ceo of LVMH-owned Rimowa, to the board.

Sales for the first quarter at the world’s second-biggest retailer after Walmart Inc. totaled 20 billion euros, with slight growth from its home market of France while business declined in most of the rest of Europe and in Asia. It recorded brisker business in Latin America, where the company has operations in Brazil and Argentina, with a 14.5 percent increase, on a like-for-like basis, lifted by inflation in food prices. The decline of the Brazilian and Argentinian currencies, however, contributed to an overall negative exchange rate effect of 3.4 percent.

In France, the retailer’s largest market, nonfood sales continued to decline while a focus on prices, organic produce and convenience stores helped boost the quarterly performance. Sales grew 1 percent on a like-for-like basis overall in the country, totaling 9 billion euros.

Bompard has embarked on a broad overhaul of the company to adapt to changing consumption habits, notably teaming up with Google in France and Tencent in China to bulk up its digital capabilities. The group has struggled under the weight of its sprawling big-box stores, or hypermarkets, a model invented by the group in the Sixties that brings household goods and groceries under the same roof, which has fallen out of favor as consumers embrace the convenience of Internet purchases.

 

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